Greenland Forbidden Coast
Sailing in East Greenland
The stretch of coast between Angmagssalik and Scoresby Sound is considered one of the most challenging in Greenland. The mountains rise almost vertically from the sea to form a narrow bulwark, with rifts through with active glaciers expel large quantities of ice. Here are the highest mountains in the Arctic with some of the longest and most ice-filled fjords. This is the polar bear and narwhals dominion. A place that only a few hardy adventurers in the annals of Arctic exploration have ever deigned to challenge.
Borea Adventures has been exploring this majestic area for many years on exclusive expeditions to this spectacular place and only nine seats will be available. We will sail from Isafjordur on the north west coast of Iceland on our sturdy expedition yacht AURORA, cross the Denmark Strait and make landfall on the southern edge of the Blosseville coast. From here we will journey south to the Angmagssalik area and visit many magnificent locations such as Nansen Fjord, Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord, Nigertuluk and Kangertigtivatsiaq Fjord.
Each night we will secure a safe anchorage and there will be ample opportunities to explore on foot or by kayak. The trip will conclude in the village of Kulusuk where our guests will catch their flight back to Reykjavik. This is an expedition, suitable for anyone looking for a true adventure off the beaten path.
THIS EXPEDITION WAS FULLY BOOKED in 2018!
Dates 2019: 27. July - 10. August.
- Yacht costs
- Services of guides and crew
- All food whilst onboard, except alcohol
- Use of wet weather sailing clothing
- Use of sea kayaks
- International and domestic flights to Iceland and Greenland
- Accommodation in Kulusuk
- Personal clothing & equipment as pr recommended equipment list
- Personal insurance
- Any costs incurred through missed flights
Depart from Isafjordur at 7pm on our expedition sailboat AURORA. Weather permitting; we will commence crossing the Denmark Strait, which should take approximately 32 hours. If the weather is not in our favor or the sea ice conditions are difficult, we will delay our crossing and shelter in the beautiful fjords of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve where we will do some hiking and/or kayaking.
Crossing the Denmark Strait. We will be at sea and should start glimpsing the mountains of Greenland during the afternoon. We will keep a watchful eye for icebergs that are always present in this area. Dolphins and whales are likely to be riding our bow wake.
Arrive in Greenland in the early morning. We will attempt landfall at Søkongen Island on the south side of Nansen Fjord. The great Christian IV Glacier calves into Nansen Fjord, which is often full of icebergs. This is prime area for polar bears, and we will keep a vigilant eye out for them. The Watkins Mountains and the highest peak in the Arctic, Gunnbjornsfjeld (3693 m) line the horizon. Depending on the ice conditions we will attempt to find an anchorage here for the night.
Mikis Fjord. We will sail to Mikis Fjord and anchor. Here is an option to hike into the flower-filled Sødalen Valley and perhaps search for gold and platinum in the creeks and rivers of the Skærgård intrusion (only discovered a few years ago by a geological expedition). In Mikis Fjord are long-abandoned Inuit ruins that allude to a time when the Dorset culture populated the northeast coast.
Kangerdlussuaq Fjord. Continue our journey to the great Kangerlugssuaq Fjord (‘big fjord'). The AURORA will anchor in SuhailiBugt. This is a very sheltered anchorage where Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Sir Chris Bonington anchored the Suhaili on their attempt to climb the Cathedral Peak in 1991. This will be our base camp for the following few days.
In Kangerdlussuaq Fjord we have plenty of options for hikes and kayak-tours. We can paddle over to the abandoned Skærgård Inuit settlement and explore the Uttendal Sound towards the ice-filled Watkins Fjord. We can also hike in the hills of Kræmer Island where there are fantastic vistas of the surrounding fjords, mountains and glaciers.
To the Ammassalik people, Kangerdlugssuaq has always been regarded as an especially rich hunting ground - a kind of Arctic Shangri-La that can only be reached with difficulty in small skiffs. Modern-day attempts to colonize Kangerdlugssuaq date from 1966, when several families from Tasiilaq over-wintered in the remains of an old American weather station and expedition houses from the 1930s. They reported a very good hunting season: 35 polar bears, 62 narwhals and some 2100 seals! But, because of the daunting access to the area, colonization attempts were abandoned and Kangerdlugssuaq was left to revert once again to an exceptional wilderness.
The Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord is bar-none the wildest coastal landscape in Greenland. The Lemon Mountain Range - one of Greenland's highest, lies just north of the fjord. This vast mountain range with compact alpine peaks offers endless opportunities for mountaineering, with many unclimbed peaks towering to 2,600 meters. In addition, just 50 to 80km north and east of Södalen is the Lindbergh Range, with unclimbed peaks rising 3,200 meters and magnificent views over the immense Greenland Ice Cap. Further west are the Kangerdlugssuaq Mountains, an expansive realm of alpine granite and gneiss peaks rising to 2,600 meters. This range comprises of the single largest region of unclimbed summits in Greenland. To the northeast are the Watkins Mountains with GunnbjornsFjeld (3,693m), the highest peak in the Arctic. In all, this range consists of the 10 tallest mountains in the High Arctic - a stunning collection of peaks virtually unknown to the outside world.
We will leave Kangerdlugssuaq Fjord and make our passage south. This area is thus described in the British Admiralty Arctic Pilot: ‘The stretch of coast between Kap SM Jørgensen and KapDechmann, 90 miles NE, is considered one of the most difficult in Greenland; the mountains rise almost vertically from the sea to form a narrow bulwark, with rifts through which active glaciers discharge quantities of ice, while numerous off-lying islets and rocks make navigation hazardous'.
Nigertuluk Fjord. On our route south, we will explore new areas before entering Nigertuluk Fjord. Here are two spectacular calving glaciers, a sandy beach and a tranquil mountain lake. All in all, this is a fantastic playground for hiking and kayaking.
Kangertigtivatsiaq Fjord. Today we sail across Kangertigtivatsiaq Fjord, which has thus been described by Chapman of the British Arctic Air Route expedition of 1930-1931: ‘The scenery here was magnificent. A short branch fjord to the N terminated in a huge glacier, while the longer main fjord was flanked by great needle-peaked mountains, between 1800 - 2000 m high. There are hanging glaciers precariously balanced on the steep hillsides and other glaciers coming right down to the sea. At the head of the fjord, away in the distance, was a superb pinnacled mountain, reminiscent of St. Paul´s Cathedral; this was Ingolfsfjeld.'
Storø to Smalsund – Sermiligaq. Our journey continues as we sail further south into the remote and little-explored territory of Depot Sound. We pass the Idrac Glacier, Fladøerne Island and Smalsund. We will anchor overnight in Sermiligaq.
Sermiligaq to Kulusuk. We will sail further into Sermiligaq Fjord and enter the stunning Ikasaq Sound. We will make a short stop at the abandoned WWII military base of Bluie East 2. From here we will continue our passage to Angmagssalik Fjord and anchor adjacent to Kulusuk village in the afternoon.
Kulusuk. We will go ashore and visit the village of Kulusuk. Here our expedition concludes and guests will leave us to catch their flight back to Iceland or continue with their own further exploration of Greenland.
- Thermal underwear, at least two sets of shirts.
- Wool/fleece thermal mid layer.
- Hiking pants. We recommend no cottons as they take long to dry if wet.
- Waterproof and breathable pants and jacket for hiking onshore. We also have heavy duty sailing pants and jackets that you are free to use.
- Non marking sailing boots or regular boots. Fine thread will grip the deck better when wet than deep thread. No need to buy something expensive here. You can find nice boots/wellingtons in gardening stores or boat chandleries that don´t cost too much. Just make sure you can wear thick socks.
- One pair of gloves and one pair of warm mittens.
- 3 to 4 pairs thick wool/synthetic socks.
- Down or synthetic jacket is nice to have for the afternoon chill.
- Casual clothes to wear ashore.
- Boat shoes or slippers for below decks.
- Hiking boots (Vibram sole). Need to be high up on the ancle for support.
- Summer rated sleeping bag.
- Soft travel bag (no hard suitcases).
- Dark sun glasses.
- Sunscreen/after sun cream.
- About 30L backpack for day walks.
- Personal medical kit to include personal medication and i.e. band aids, throat lozenges, lip salves, sea-sickness tablets etc. Don't forget regular medication you may need (e.g. Asthma, bring your inhaler, even if you do not always need it).
- 1 litre water bottle.
- Don't forget your camera!